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A garage door that just won’t shut quite right can be maddening. When adding concern for safety into the equation, finding the right fix becomes a first priority. The most common reason a garage door won’t shut right is almost always a photo eye (safety sensor) issue. There are a number of ways that problems come up with the sensors, and a few things you should know regarding their proper use in order to maintain a safe garage door area.

Common Garage Sensor Issues

If the photo-eyes of your garage door are not functioning properly, your door is sure to have trouble closing. Here are some things you can check in order to rule out sensor problems:

Sensors Out of Alignment

The photo sensors on the garage door track must be perfectly aligned to do their job well. One sensor sends out an infrared beam, and the other sensor receives the beam. Together, the two sides work together to monitor any obstructions that would cause your door to remain open.

Typically, the lights located on both sensors indicate whether something is wrong or out of alignment. If the signal lights are out or blinking, it may mean that there is an alignment issue.

Dirty Door Edge Sensors

Dirty sensors might mean an overly-dusty lens or excess cobwebs and other debris on the device. No matter where, it is important to maintain clean garage door sensors. A dusty lens can interfere with the ability to send and receive the infrared signal, and excess dirt may also get into the interior of the device if not kept clean.

Sunlight and Sensor Interference

The light of the sun may sometimes overpower the infrared ray used by your garage door sensors. In this case, the sun may prevent the door from closing all the way due to the sensors being rendered incapable of communicating with each other. 

There are two main ways to resolve this issue:

  • The Cardboard Method. By placing small pieces of cardboard (or an empty toilet paper tube) around the sensor, you may be able to block the sun from interfering with the photo eye. For an alternative and more visually appealing solution, sun shields may be purchased for this purpose. 
  • Switching the Sensors. You can try switching the sides that each sensor is on, since one of them sends and the other receives and may fare better on opposite sides. 

Something Blocking the Sensors

Though a common and simple problem, it can be easy to miss things that get in the way! Be diligent to look for and remove objects that may even slightly be in the infrared beam’s path. 

Sensors and Garage Door Safety Month

June marks the start of Summer and long days spent outside in the yard or with kids running in and out of the garage. It is fitting that June is also Garage Door Safety Month. Your garage door’s sensors and photo eyes are a crucial part of maintaining a safe environment free of the hazards an ill-maintained garage door can pose. The force and weight of a large garage door is such that a small child or pet could be crushed were a door to close on them. The photo eye sensors’ purpose is to help avoid that tragedy.

Federal Law for Garage Door Sensors

According to the Federal Register, since 2018, all garage door openers are required by law to have electronic reversing systems, which includes the garage door sensors at the base of the door track. If your door does not comply with this law, you are under significant liability should an accident occur. To ensure your garage setup complies, it is always a good idea to contact a professional for a check. However, you should make sure of the following:

  • The sensors should be mounted 6 inches off the floor on each side
  • The sensors are clean and free of debris

Des Moines Garage Door Maintenance & Repair

If you are concerned about the safety of your garage door system, contact our team at Amega Garage Doors & Openers for a check-up. Our technicians will spend the time with you to make sure that not only your sensors work, but that the rest of your garage door system is up to par and meeting safety standards. Contact us today!

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